New Hampshire moves closer to gay marriage

The upper house in New Hampshire’s assembly voted on Wednesday in favor of a bill that would make the northeastern state the fifth in the country to allow same-sex marriage, the governor said.

The bill still has to win clearance from the lower house and get the signature of Governor John Lynch.

Lynch, a Democrat, has previously opposed full, same-sex marriage, but he has not indicated whether or not he will veto the bill.

The state already recognizes same-sex civil unions.

In a statement following the vote, Lynch said he recognized the issue was "intensely passionate and personal, and raises strong emotions on all sides."

He also indicated that he still considers civil unions to be sufficient.

Equal rights were "accomplished through the passage of the civil unions law two years ago," he said. "To achieve further real progress, the federal government would need to take action to recognize New Hampshire civil unions."

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont allow gay marriage. New York’s state assembly is considering the issue.